×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Legit Review: ‘Miss Julie’

For Sigmund Freud, it was anatomy. For Neil LaBute, destiny has always been about looks. Good looks, especially in men, mean that you’re a privileged, caddish user. How appropriate then that LaBute’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie,” being given its world premiere at the Geffen, should find helmer Jo Bonney casting an actor with male-model good looks to be John, the rough upstart servant who attempts to switch roles with the heiress Julie. It’s inspired miscasting.

Or is putting Logan Marshall-Green together with Lily Rabe merely casting against type, and adding texture to an already multi-level battle of the sexes and classes? Frankly, Marshall-Green’s features are finer than Rabe’s. Also, his clear tenor is placed slightly higher than her raspy contralto. And when she snorts with laughter or burps after drinking too much wine, we believe Rabe. We don’t quite buy Marshall-Green when he sucks his teeth or drops a consonant at the end of a phrase.

A few minutes into this “Miss Julie,” you might think that the Geffen Playhouse started out with a traditionally cast “The Heiress” and then switched plays after losing a few key supporting players. Julie’s fall at the hands of this John isn’t so devastating. But the injustice of her money and his lack of it is more pronounced.

To drop yet another title into this review, the casting in James Cameron’s “Titanic” had a similar leveling effect. Leonardo DiCaprio looks to the manner born once he dons a tuxedo, while it’s Kate Winslet who looks more at home dancing with the masses in steerage.

Just in time for yet another movie adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” Bonney and LaBute update Strindberg’s 1888 classic to 1929 and move it to a Long Island estate, adding a “bitch” here and a “shit” there.

As much as this Julie and John go at each other, they’re never the ones in control. Julie’s offstage father pulls the purse strings and John’s servant-girlfriend (Laura Heisler) is pregnant and speaks with a Yiddish flair despite calling herself Kristine.

Maybe looks aren’t what they’re cracked up to be after all.

Miss Julie

(Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, Los Angeles; 117 seats; $99 top)

A Geffen Playhouse presentation of a play in one act by August Strindberg, adapted by Neil LaBute. Directed by Jo Bonney. Set, Myung Hee Cho; costumes, Christina Haatainen Jones; lighting, Lap Chi Chu; sound, Vincent Olivieri. Opened and reviewed May 1, 2013. Running time: 1 HOUR, 40 MIN.

With: Lily Rabe, Logan Marshall-Green, Laura Heisler

Legit Review: 'Miss Julie'

More Legit

  • A Strange Loop review

    Off Broadway Review: 'A Strange Loop'

    “No one cares about a writer who is struggling to write,” sings the anxiety-ridden lead character in Michael R. Jackson’s sometimes exhilarating, sometimes exasperating new musical, “A Strange Loop,” at Playwrights Horizons. The abundantly talented Jackson takes the otherwise tired trope of the young, poor and sensitive artist trying to discover his true self and [...]

  • Richard E Grant Everybody's Talking About

    Richard E. Grant to Play Former Drag Queen in 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie'

    Oscar-nominated actor Richard E. Grant will portray a former drag queen and mentor in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” the movie adaptation of the British stage musical. “Catastrophe” co-creator and star Sharon Horgan and “Happy Valley” star Sarah Lancashire have also joined the film. Max Harwood will play the titular role of Jamie, a role inspired [...]

  • The Secret Life of Bees review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Secret Life of Bees'

    There’s a sweet sense of sisterhood that’s simply divine in “The Secret Life of Bees,” the heartwarming new musical at the Atlantic Theater Company based on Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling 2002 coming-of-age novel, set in South Carolina in 1964 amid Civil Rights struggles. (A 2008 film adaptation starred Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah.) The feeling [...]

  • 10 Comics to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Comics to Watch for 2019

    Variety has chosen its 10 Comics to Watch for 2019. The honorees will be profiled in the July 18 issue of Variety and at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal at a cocktail party on Thursday, July 25, followed by a panel and showcase on Friday, July 26. The events are sponsored by Cohen & Gardner LLP. The [...]

  • Vanessa Hudgens So You Think You

    Vanessa Hudgens, Hailey Kilgore to Star in Reading of 'The Notebook' Musical

    Vanessa Hudgens and Tony-nominee Hailey Kilgore are joining an upcoming reading of Ingrid Michaelson’s stage adaptation of “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks. Tony nominee Michael Greif is set to direct the reading, which will open June 23 at Vassar College’s Martel Theater as part of their Powerhouse Theater season. Kilgore will star as the younger [...]

  • Moulin Rouge director Alex Timbers

    'Beetlejuice,' 'Moulin Rouge!' Director Alex Timbers on Creating Worlds on Broadway

    In the past year, Alex Timbers has directed the Tony-nominated “Beetlejuice” and the stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge!” (which begins previews June 28 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre). Here, he reflects on his most recent projects and the challenges of bringing two iconic movie musicals to Broadway within a year.  Both your musicals live in [...]

  • Actor Anthony Ramos Signs With Republic

    Actor Anthony Ramos Signs With Republic Records (EXCLUSIVE)

    Singer-songwriter and actor Anthony Ramos, known for his roles in “Hamilton” and “A Star Is Born,” has signed with Republic Records, the company announced today. Ramos will release his forthcoming debut album later this year, with new music expected this summer. Footage from the signing aired on his YouTube series today. “Anthony is a true [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content